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Venezuela military plane crashes

/ Source: The Associated Press

A military plane crashed in the mountains near Caracas on Friday, killing all 16 people on board including two high-ranking military officers, officials said.

Rescuers hurried to the spot near the town of El Junquito but found no survivors in the wreckage on a steep slope, said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, a commanding firefighter.

The dead included the inspector general of the National Guard, division Gen. Rafael Dubron Torres, along with Brig. Gen. Jose Blondet Serfati, seven other soldiers and officers, and seven civilians including a 4-year-old boy, Information Minister Andres Izarra told reporters.

The National Guard plane crashed about 15 miles northwest of Caracas. Officials said it was cloudy and rainy in the area at the time.

“We don’t know the causes,” Izarra said. He said a loud explosion was heard in the area at about 11:10 a.m. (1510 GMT).

It was unclear if that blast came at the time of impact or before. There are houses near the spot where the crash occurred, officials said.

The plane, a twin-engine M-28 Skytruck, had been on its way from Puerto Ayacucho, about 320 miles south of Caracas, to a military air base just east of the capital.